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Young people and entrepreneurial cultures in low-income communities

Parkinson, Caroline, Southern, Alan, Howorth, Carole and Nowak, Vicky (2015) Young people and entrepreneurial cultures in low-income communities. In: 8th ICEIRD Conference ‘Entrepreneurship, Employment and Exclusion’, 18 June 2015 - 19 June 2015, Sheffield, UK.

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Understanding how to support entrepreneurial cultures is critical for the future of places. Local entrepreneurial cultures are the shared views that determine how people in a place - or location -understand and experience the phenomenon of entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurship literature has often attributed lack of enterprise in certain types of places, particularly ëdepletedí or ëlow income communitiesí to an entrepreneurial deficit and distance from enterprise culture. In UK policy, however, enterprise has long been promoted as panacea to deprivation in lowincome communities . Little is known about how entrepreneurial cultures develop differently within more and less deprived places. Particularly little is known about how young people ís attitudes to enterprise, as one element of those shared views, are affected by place, as they conceptualise it. Yet entrepreneurial responses might still be needed most in the places marginalised from the growth centres. Enterprise initiatives targeting young people as an alternative career route tend to be universal rather than place-based and take-up of enterprise remains low. How far the potential for enterprise within young people ís trajectories is influenced by place is unknown. This paper reports the findings of a research project exploring the links between place, enterprise and young people in Bradford and Liverpool, UK. The research combined interpretive, corpus linguistic and discourse analysis to examine how certain place factors affect young adults í attitudes to enterprise in low-income versus more prosperous neighbourhoods. Beyond various age-based commonalities, we found that where they live and deprivation status each has defined effects on how young adults construct enterprise within their own trajectories and the trajectories of their places. This paper challenges views that attribute simplistic place or person specific factors to an area ís propensity for enterprise. We argue for understanding how place-based factors, expressed and shaped by the attitudes of young members of those places, affect the future of entrepreneurial cultures. In this way, the paper bridges thinking on informal, youth and place-based entrepreneurship.

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